Symposium on art of ta moko

The organiser of a ta moko symposium to be held in Dunedin next month, Justine Camp (left), is joined by her mother, Khyla Russell, and daughter Takiwai Russell-Camp (18). Photo by Stephen Jaquiery. A major ta moko symposium - including live work by artists - will be held in Dunedin next month.

The Otago Polytechnic symposium, believed to be the first in the South Island for more than a decade, had attracted interest from all over the country, organiser Justine Camp said.

The idea for the symposium came after a well-attended guest lecture by ta moko artist Stu McDonald, of Tauranga, held at the Dunedin School of Art last year, she said.

Mr McDonald would return to the city with other members of Moana Moko, a group of artists who travel the country teaching people about ta moko.

The one-day symposium - Ahikomau o Ruaumoko: Unearthing your Blueprint - would also include live ta moko work.

Ta moko are permanent body or face markings.

Ms Camp said the major difference between ta moko and tattoo was ''if you sit down with an artist you have the conversation and they freehand on you traditional shapes and things''.

Her mother, Prof Khyla Russell, of Otago Polytechnic, received her ta moko in 2001 and it had provoked various reactions over the years, including the question ''How long have you been a gang moll?'', Ms Camp said.

Ms Camp's daughter, Takiwai Russell-Camp, also had ta moko, but Ms Camp said she was a self-confessed introvert who was ''afraid of needles'' and had no plans to get one.

The symposium will be held at the polytechnic's Sargood Centre on October 9.

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